Garmin Approach S20

Review of the Garmin Approach S20 Golf GPS Watch


  • Impressive battery life.
  • excellent companion app
  • Lightweight make
  • Affordable


  • The design could be better
  • Crude course maps

 The Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch is the newest member of Garmin’s Approach series, joining the Approach S10 and Approach S20. In addition to being a golf watch, the Approach S20 also serves as a running watch, thanks to its ability to track your running distance, pace, time, and calories burned.

The Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch comes in three different color schemes, black, blue, and white, and will retail for about $200.

What’s new in the Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch?

The Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch comes with a few new features, including a touchscreen, a GPS, and built-in golf course maps.

The new touchscreen allows you to customize your watch face, so you can choose between a color display or a monochrome display. The touchscreen also allows you to make adjustments to the watch’s settings, including changing the watch face. You can also use the touchscreen to control the music you’re listening to or to navigate through your phone’s settings.

The Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch also comes with built-in GPS, which means that you don’t need to carry a separate GPS watch with you when you play golf. The GPS feature also works in conjunction with the built-in maps, so you can get directions to the next tee box or to a course you’re looking to play.

Garmin Approach S20: Connecting the dots

Garmin Approach S20

I reviewed the Garmin Approach S20 by playing a few rounds with my dad, Jeff, who has been playing golf for more than 30 years. Since then, he has seen every advancement in gaming technology. According to my dad, golf watches are the most important accessories aside from tees and golf gloves.

However, he hasn’t bought a new golf watch since several years ago. During that time, golf wearables have evolved to include features such as expanded fitness tracking, smartphone notifications, and even sleep monitoring.

Due to his familiarity with the S2, Jeff already knew how the S20 worked on the course when he strapped it on. After some practice and patience, he learned the modern functions that make the Approach S20 as much an everyday wearable as it is a golf watch.

Design of the Garmin Approach S20

Garmin Approach S20

The Garmin Approach S20 isn’t as noticeable out on the links as the TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition. It does not stand out but rather blends in with average golf attire.

It’s not my fault. Despite its aesthetic appeal, the S20 is unfashionable. Despite its simple appearance, its perforated silicone bands and flat, square case speak more to its functionality than to its looks.

It was something my dad admired about the S20. With the tang buckle, he can put it on and take it off easily, while the compact case doesn’t get in his way when he swings. With a weight of just 1.5 ounces, the S20 is ultra-lightweight.

Next to any Apple Watch face, a monochrome LCD display with 128 x 128 pixels seems archaic. Because he is colorblind, the high-contrast, pixelated screen appeals to Jeff. Jeff called the screen “retro” and said he liked it.

In addition, the Approach S20 lacks a touch-screen control panel, another “retro” feature. I had to practice operating the S20 after using the single-button, touch-screen TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition.

Because there are no touch controls, there are no fingerprints. Despite the bright summer afternoon sunlight, the S20’s display was clean, clear, and legible.

Garmin Approach S20: Golf Specifications

Garmin Approach S20

The Garmin Approach S20 includes more than 40,000 golf courses around the world. As soon as you’re ready to begin your round, the GPS will identify the nearest course and allow you to select the correct location. The watch tells you how far you are from the front, back, and middle of each green.

Although the course map and hazard warnings are crude, a regular golfer will have no difficulty deciphering them. The Garmin Golf app (available for Android and iOS ) offers a more advanced view of a hole’s layout if you are visiting a course for the first time. As opposed to marking hazard locations on the watch with letters, the app’s map displays the type of hazard. This helps you determine if you are dealing with a lake or a sand trap.

Additionally, this watch features Garmin’s AutoShot technology, which uses your wrist movement to trigger a shot and track distance. Your location is recorded as soon as you take your first swing. To calculate your shot distance, the watch measures the distance you traveled between your previous shot and your next shot. With the Garmin Golf app, you can match your shot distance with the club you used and your swing speed. According to Jeff, this information was useful for estimating the distance he hit the ball with each club.

The AutoShot app does not record putts, but you can still record shorter shots and keep score with your wrist. My dad did not hesitate to brag about his shot ratio, using the S20 tally as evidence of his above-average putting ability.

Fitness and health features on the Garmin Approach S20

The Garmin Approach S20 is also compatible with the Garmin Connect fitness-tracker program, in addition to the Garmin Golf app.

Besides the odometer and heart rate monitor, the S20 comes with a timer, which makes it a great fitness wearable.

The Garmin Approach S20 is also rated for 5 atm water resistance, meaning it is able to resist submersion in water for up to 50 meters. As a result, my dad could go for a swim or take a shower at the golf club after a round without having to remove his watch.

The Garmin S20 offers sleep-tracking capabilities as well. I’ve used those before, but my dad wasn’t so keen on using them himself, but they are still a neat addition to see how rested you are for the early morning rounds-and how much coffee you’ll need.

Garmin Approach S20: Battery life

The S20 has a 15-hour battery life in GPS mode and up to eight weeks without GPS.

GPS tracking can drain your battery. My dad’s Approach S2 was unable to last 18 holes (or 4 hours). He was extremely elated when the S20 still had half its charge after two days of rounds. Would you consider me for a daughter-of-the-year award?

When my dad wasn’t golfing, the Garmin Approach S20 was still running. Despite tracking steps, mirroring phone notifications, and monitoring a night’s sleep, the S20 didn’t need to be recharged.

Price and worth

A brand-name golf watch at an affordable price, the Garmin Approach S20 retails for $199. A golf wearable with the useful features of a fitness tracker costs less than two caddies (or less, depending on the prestige of your course).

The $1,850 TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition offers the same features as the S20 for more than nine times the price. Despite the $400 price tag, the Garmin Approach S60 offers significant style and display advances, including a color touch screen.

Nonetheless, the Approach S20 remains the best golf watch under $200.

Final verdict:

For golfers who aren’t interested in the bells and whistles of more modern-looking wearables, the Garmin Approach S20 is a great watch. Those who golf frequently will appreciate the hardware’s long battery life and AutoShot data. On the occasions they play golf, those who play less frequently won’t overspend on a device they’ll be happy to have.

At the moment, my dad is satisfied with the S20 variant of the Garmin Approach S60, which he’s been eyeing for a future holiday gift. The more he learns about how to use the watch with his smartphone, the more satisfied he becomes. While he never wore the Garmin S2 off the course, he now regularly wears the S20.

The Garmin Approach S20 combines golf features with fitness tracking characteristics, making it the best wearable on the greens for the price.

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